Cash has been on the decline for many years now but because of the pandemic, this decline increased significantly. People are now moving to other methods of payment and many are wondering if cash will be dead soon. However, millions of people worldwide still use cash daily.
So, are we looking at a cashless society in the future? Let’s find out.
What The Data Says: The Case For Cash
Before making any future prediction, it is essential to understand data that gives us insight into the issue. Here are some key statistics that you need to know about cash:
- More than eight million adults in the UK rely on coins and notes
- Two million people use cash for every transaction they make
- 22 million people use cash as an essential back-up for cards
- Seven million people have said they would struggle without cash
These key statistics are important to understand that cash is not going anywhere for the time being. Many people still rely on it for their transactions and they can’t go cashless. Yes, the pandemic may have increased the use of other payment methods, but there is still a significant chunk of the population that relies on cash daily.
Many small businesses still rely on trading with cash and if the society goes cashless, they will not have any more access to it. Now that you understand the case for cash, let’s understand the other side.
The Case Against Cash
Cash has been on the decline for many years. Here are some key statistics that will help you understand further what is happening:
- In 2020, 431 bank branches and 3,300 free-to-use ATMs have been closed
- The number of ATMs in the UK has fallen by 20% in the last three years
- The number of bank branches has lowered to 40% in the last three years
- Officer of TSB is set to close more than 160 bank branches this year and Lloyds plans to close 56 bank branches
These closures were happening for a while now, but the pandemic has increased the number significantly. More closures will take place this year and it has hastened the move away from cash.
The Risk Of Financial And Social Exclusion
If we move towards a cashless society, many people will be excluded from carrying out daily activities, collecting benefits, paying for essential items such as groceries, and much more. Besides that, small businesses will also face the highest impact.
Millions of people still rely on bank branches, ATMs, and cash. These include:
- Older adults
- People who are not tech-savvy
- Small businesses
- People living in rural locations without online access
- People with disabilities
- Homeless people
- Housing association tenants
- And many others
These are the most vulnerable people of the society, and they are the biggest risk for social and financial exclusion if the governments decide to go cashless. Will the government leave millions of people at risk for exclusion? We will just have to wait and find out what happens.